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tv   Tech Know  Al Jazeera  March 23, 2014 1:00am-1:31am EDT

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michigan, a court ordered a stop until wednesday. the state is appealing a decision by a judge to overturn the ban. >> those are the headlines "techknow - hollywood resurrections" starts right now on al jazeera america. scientists. let's check out our team of hardcore nerds. march he's a davison specializes in ecology and evolution. tonight t a box down on the farm. the technology is here. are bots taking over? care a santiago a maria is a science journal wifts a background in neuro biology. tonight, cara meets her avatar as we learn about the movie magic that could bring seymour hoffman back to life. >> lined say moran is an analyst. she is showing us the virtual reality that may bring peace to
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our traumatized war vets. i am phil torres, an entymologist. let's do some science. >> welcome to "techknow." you guys have some very fascinating stories today. rita, let's start with you. >> as a society, we have really started to value where our food comes from. we don't always think about what's happening in the process picked. i got the checkouts and innovations in agriculture that are taking robots out of the lab into the fields and it might mean in the not too distance
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future you are eating food picked not by a human hand but by a robot. let's check it out. >> do you eat strawberries a lot when you are here. >> i do and for breakfast. >> the terri family has been farming in ventura county, california since 1890. the world has changed dramatically since then. one hasn't. >> in 1969 we put a man on the moon but brought him back safely but we are harvesting a strawberry crop the same way we did 150 years ago. take a look at change in the making. juan bravo is the founder of agribot, one of a growing number of high-tech companies hoping to done. he has chosen california as a testing ground because it is the largest producer of strawberries in the world. [speaking spanish.)
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here is how the robot finds the ripe ones as the arms are lowered into the strawberry bed, cameras on each of them take 20 photos per second scanning for redberries. then computer algorithms analyze the images separating each strawberry by its shape and checking its color. if 80% of a barry is a bright red color, the arm positions its basket so the strawberry lies in it. a blade sniffs the stem. the whole process takes 4 seconds. this protocol time still needs human hands to pack alan the delicate strawberries. but with agribot only four people are needed to harvest 10 acres, a job that typically takes 10 people. unlike humans, the robot can work around the clock. sgz speaking spanish.)
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[speaking spanish.) >> i think the agribots have a lot of potential. they are light years ahead of anybody else to do that in a field environment. >> do you think it has the potential to get a footing here in california? >> again, it goes back to what its productivity per hour. do we have to change the dynamics of how we grow a strawberry on a bed? >> agribot only works on high beds with a single row of plants, radically different from california's low beds with multiple rows. it can't search forberries. they have to hang down the side of the bed for the robot to see them. >> [speaking spanish.) why according to the california farm bureau's most recent survey, over 70% of growers who deal
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with labor-intensive crops like strawberries say they struggle to find enough people to do the work. last year, because of weather, harvesting? >> right. >> how were you able to get workers in to do the job? >> we couldn't because the crop came on so quick in march and april, we were about 50% short of our labor needs. >> what did that cost? >> it ranged anywhere from 10 to $15,000 per acre lost. >> grape growers are worried about shortages. he says that's why some have invested in the development of this automated grapevine pruner. >> this is snippy. >> sniff fy? >> he is one of a crimed but we are hoping to change that. >> yeah. >> he was testing this prototype out on a vine yard in san joaquin county. right now, it's made up of off-the-shelf parts. it's dest i need for production.
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>> there are three computers, two back here, one above each front. >> pruning grape vines, especially vines like these with gapes dest i need for high-quality wines is a precision on job typically done by hand. >> it take intelligence and dexterity. we are able to do that. there are front cameras on either side. stereo vision as well. two eyes like a person does. >> before sniff fy can begin to prune, its camera eyes snap 20 photos of the vein so the model. >> studio. >> if we can control our own lieding, it makes it easier to model. studio. >> once the model is made, specific rules are applied to cut the vine to produce the
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highest quality grapes then it inches the tractor forward placing the cutting arms over the vine. remember the two computers over the arms? they plan the moves to get the clippers to the exact cut location. lawsers measure to make sure the cuts are accurate. >> how does snippy measure up to the human work force in terms of precision and accuracy when it's out there working. >> right now, it doesn't. when we are in production, it will. we expect to be as good or better than the human force within a year, year natural. >> almost 20 fold over next six years reaching over $16,000,000,000 it has bin fought in faoccurs across america -- eric nicholson:
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>> i think there is a place for technology in our industry. there is need for more. part of the driver is worker shortage. argument? >> i think that's -- there is mostly donte spire to work in the fields. i can't make enough money. there is no benefits and basically, the conditions are pretty bad because i have to be outside regardless of the weather. it comes back to: how do we, with the folks that are shopping, pay a little more, so the growers can get a little more. >> some agriculture row bots are designed to replace missing workers, some are developing robots to work side -by-side wih people in the field. an assistant profitsor at the
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department of it biological and agricultural generaliering. >> 7 arior students designed this last year. this will carry the strawberries from the picker. >> this cobot would the read signals from sensors on the worker's body. >> the robot knows what your economics are, how much you have been working, if you are over doing it. it would take action. it would tell you, take a break. >> do you thu do you think these technologies can displace some of the work force? >> robotibs always has, in fact, headed towards reduce the work force in some areas. do you see a
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day when farmers field? >> no matter how automated the processes get, you have an growing. you never, i don't think, can replace that human touch. it's impossible. you come bearing gifts. what did you bring us. >> these were picked by agribot. this is a fruit you want to look and feel a tape way. >> what's interesting is this is like the assembly line where originally it was humans doing all this work, and now, it's kind of like a robot is replacing them. >> research shows the opposite happened. productivity increased. yields increased and that meant there were more jobs and expansion of skills available for workers to use. >> i am thinking it's a way to get my kids to eat their vegetables because they will think it's cool. >> interesting story, maria.
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cara, what do you have next. >>tive digital movie magic. this may be a way that actors who are no longer with us form can actually finish out their scenes and movies. i will tell you how they do it right after the break. >> we want to hear what you think about these stories. join the conversation by following united states on twitter and at aljazeera.com.
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consider this: the news of the day plus so much more. >> we begin with the government shutdown. >> answers to the questions no one else will ask. >> it seems like they can't agree to anything in washington no matter what. >> antonio mora, award winning and hard hitting. >> we've heard you talk about the history of suicide in your family. >> there's no status quo, just the bottom line. >> but, what about buying shares in a professional athlete? real perspective, consider this
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on al jazeera america welcome back. hollywood. >> i did. there was a movie revolution, paramount, this huge studio, the last movie they are doing on traditional film was "anchorman 2" with will ferrell. not only is the film, itself, converted to digital. the people are being converted to digital characters. i got to have that done to me. it's crazy. look at that. all right, guys. let's check this out. >> hollywood, america's birthplace of film is now the revolution. >> we are here at the university of southern california's institute for creative technology. this is ground zero for the
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game-changing research that is catapulting film technology into the 21st sent re. made. >> all right. so here we have the stage. >> i ict's dr. paul trailblazer. >> this is the light stage. what does this do? >> there is about 10,000 individually controlled light sores in here. >> wow. >> we kncan drive the led did around us to replicate the color and intensity of light from everywhere, the blue sky appear above us. >> why is the light so important for creating digital characters? >> if you saw "gravity" we did some work early on in the film in the virtual environment and they would be projected on to the phases of sandra bullock and george clooney and they look like they were there even though they were in a movie studio. it's not an instantaneous process. with the light stage, we can
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digit eyes somebody to a 10th of a millimeter accuracy. and that's enough to see skin pours. we can record an act in 30 facial expressions and within 30 days have all of those process and core respond to each other. >> that's like the ingredients that you use to cook up the digital character. >> one film was "oblivyon." he turns into a is digital version of himself. and the amazing visual effects company used data from our light stage that was shot here and turned it into this animated digital character that you can make it look completely believeably like its tom cruise. >> i get to be scanned in this amazing light stage. what is the first thing that i have to do? >> bring in a chair, set up a headrest to let you, you know, keep your head in the right place and then you are not going to have to do much other than make facial expressions, hold them for about two and a half seconds. we will get the data on the cards and take a look at what we
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are able to shoot. >> we have downloaded the photos from the cameras. >> like the most flattering myself. >> paul uses the data from the photos he took to create a 3-d rendering of my face. >> this is much higher resolution and you will get to see literally every single skin pore of your face. >> completely. >> this is built out of about 5 million points of data. >> insane. >> and that's what you need if you are going to try to full the human eye into believing it's a real person. if we put the maps on there and face. >> this is not a photograph? >> no. these are created by photographs but it's 3-dimensional geometry. we can change the lighting to be anything we want it to be. images. >> once that's passed over to a great
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digital effects company, they will create a facial rig, face. >> next stop,dict al domain, the powerhouse production company behind the groundbreaking visual effects in "titanic" and "ironman 3". >> i went to usc's ict. met with paul and took scans in his big light stage. now, that gives him files. what do you do with them? >> mostly we just throw out. >> oscar-winning visual effects artist steve prigue combined the data and the technique called mova to create a near-perfect digital version of brad pitt in button. >> a lot of people don't realize that brad pitt wasn't in the first 52 minutes of that film. it was a completely synthetic on differently body doubles. we had brad and he recorded all of his dialogue watching me edit. we took his performance and put
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it into a digital character. >> the more anxious real actors may get. >> do you think there is a fear in hollywood? are actors worried about losing jobs or the job pool kind of re-creation? >> i have done a couple of presentations for the academy and talked about these kind of things, and tried to assure them that, you know, it's not even something that, like, deep down in our software development list, there is nothing that says, you know, next step -- >> take over? >> make something that allows us actors. >> this digital technology has raised ethical questions: with the deaths of philip seymour hoffman while shooting the hunger games and fast and replicate? >> he passed away before fin issuing one very key scene. there has been a lot of back and forth about whether or not that scene would be digitally performed. successful?
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>> even if they pull it off, you know, flawlessly, there will be people that don't like it. there will be people who do like it. if they don't, great. there will be people who do like it. it will go across the board regardless. at the same time, you know, that's a really, really difficult thing to do. >> so, i want to be clear. this is the real cara? this isn't digitized? >> not digi babe. >> young female actors are going to houses asking to be digitized so when they are older, they can play themselves for when they were younger? >> i wonder with philip seymour hoffman, can the digital version of his actor be as genius as he was? he doesn't have a say? >> he doesn't have a say. a lot of times that goes to the estate, to the family of the person who passed away. >> from a virtual face, we go to lindsay and you looked at a different. virtual reality. >> absolutely. i went to usc's institute for creative technology but looked at how they are using virtual
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reality in a much different way, which is to deal with an epidemic problem faces our wounded warriors, the invisible wound of post-traumatic stress. we will check that out next. the stream is uniquely interactive television. we depend on you, >> you are one of the voices of this show. >> so join the conversation and make it your own. >> the stream. on al jazeera america and join the conversation online @ajamstream. al jazeera america gives you the total news experience anytime, anywhere. more on every screen. digital, mobile, social. visit aljazeera.com. follow @ajam on twitter. and like aljazeera america on facebook for more stories, more access, more conversations. so you don't just stay on top of the news, go deeper and get more perspectives on every issue.
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al jazeera america.
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welcome back to techknow.
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we are here with lindsay, maria and cara. you went to usc to look at interesting technology? >> it's cool. they are using basically gaming and virtual technology in order to deal with a very real and serious problem, which is treatment. i got to try this stuff out. let's check it out. >> los angeles may seem like an odd place to search for answers to ptsd. but the department of defense is finding encouraging results through partnerships through research institute like the one at usc. skip rizzo conducts research on virtual reality systems. >> why would an organizenization that's as culturally staid and conservatived and buttoned-down as the military, why would they come to you guys for help? >> the odd alliance of hollywood and academia and the military and the great advances come from
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this kind of inter disciplinary coming together of people with different levels of expertise that can create something where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. i think what we have seen over the last 10 years is that the advances that have happened in the area of technology have really tried to focus on things that are going to make a difference for several members and veterans when they come back with psychological difficulties. >> the institute for creative technologies has created bravemi bravemind, a virtual reality therapy tool. soldiers suffering ptsd are gradually immersed in virtual environments representative of the same combat environments in which they were deployed, from a remote afghan village to a crowded iraqi marketplace, the numerous digital scenarios can be manipulated to recreate the exact location amend situation that first brought on a soldier's traumatic stress. the virtual reality is then
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coupled with a tried and true interactive psychological tool therapy. >> this, i really don't like because i am currentlier clauster phobic. >> to under go this therapy a patient has to devon thenned. a wors. a feeling he over time and naturally dissipates. you do this repeatedly and eventually, the person can face, confront, not avoid situations or thoughts, feelings that previously they just wanted to keep in a box. >> jonathan warren is a purple-heart vet having served
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two tours in iraq. >> what was your first reaction to revisiting the horror through the virtual reality, prolonged exposure therapy. >>ists terrified. it was -- it was scary to go and confront the thing that i had been avoiding so much and in a way that was going to stimulate my vision and my sounds and my feelings. it was -- it was full immersion and i just felt so bad that i couldn't keep living like that. i was willing to be miserable and to be sad and to experience more pain to get through it and to get to the other side. >> in iraq, it's in the afternoon, and i am on the no-name route driving through the city. i see the women and children are all heading back into the
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has this virtual reality treatment helped you in terms of coping with the ptsd? >> i knew it wasn't going to be all of the sudden boom, cured, but i knew i was being given tools to help me evaluate what the anxiety was about. >> what was the specific horror that you couldn't revisit? >>ists having a lot of guilt over the situation. i was confront with the question of, what could you have done different? do you think you are superman?
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do you think you can just put diesel fuel out with some dirt in your hands? that made me confront the fact that i really did everything that i could and there is nothing to be disappointed about my own actions and what i did. >> what we find is that by helping a patient to confront and process difficult emotional memories rather than avoiding them is the key to getting over ptsd. >> the military, to its sdmrfrmths credit, no longer calls this ptsd. they have taken that disorder part out the military is embracing that. >> thank you for the stories this week. fascinating stuff. we will see you next time on "techknow." go behind the scenes and follow
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our expert contribute orders on twitter, facebook, google+ and more. the jews have a name. sigh simon shama, ethnic people from antiquity to modern day israel. the two books and 5-part series were personal for the award winning author. >> a palestinian, a jew, you suck the oxygen out of the whole adventure.
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